Yesterday, Jeff Sturgeon came over with the hardback Last Cities of Earth anthology to sign for the kickstarter backers. It was, of course, socially distanced and masked at a table set up in the garage. It’s the only way I see people now who are not in my socially distanced bubble. He gave me my copy of the anthology and I put it up on my brag shelf.
The last time we updated my brag shelf, I thought about posting pictures of it online. I didn’t because, well, there was (is) a lot going on in 2020 and it didn’t seem like a good time. I took pictures and did nothing with them. I figured it would be in bad taste. It wouldn’t be appropriate. It wouldn’t be [insert whatever excuse here].
Still, after I added the new anthology, I took more pictures then paused and wondered if it would be appropriate to show off the shelf. As a woman, I’ve been taught to not take up space. That if I talk about my own accomplishments, I am arrogant and should be more humble. If I announce that I have works that are available for reading and even awards consideration, I am being a gold digger. It doesn’t matter that none of these things happen to my male counterparts. I am the one who hesitates because I’m the one who gets hit with it inside and out.
No more. I can’t allow that. If I don’t believe in my own work, no one else will.
Slowly, I am teaching myself that it is fine, it is right, it is appropriate to take up space. I am allowed. I can show off my accomplishments. I can tell the world that I have works to consider for reading, and dare I say it, awards. It’s so easy for me to tell my friends that they and their work deserve space, notice, and praise. Why not me?
I am learning that I can be my own friend. I can toot my own horn. I can cheer for myself as much as I cheer for others. I have to learn this to be a good example to others like me.
It’s hard. My fingers stumble over the keyboard keys as I type this. I hesitate. I am not sure.
That doesn’t matter. I will damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead anyway. Because if I won’t, who will? Sometimes, you must be your own cheering section.